Microsoft has officially taken the wraps off of its second generation of Windows 8 tablets, including the new Surface Pro 2. Packed with significant hardware boosts and software enhancements, the next-gen Pro addresses several issues found in the original model.

The change isn’t so obvious when it comes to physical design. Like its predecessor, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 still employs the same “VaporMg” casing for enhanced durability. The integrated kickstand has been redesigned to support two levels, one of which allows using the device on the lap more conveniently.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Specs

  • Windows 8.1
  • 10.6-inch ClearType display (1920×1080 Full HD), ~208ppi
  • 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U (Haswell) processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • 4GB or 8GB RAM
  • 64/128/256/512GB internal storage
  • microSD card support up to 64GB
  • 0.9-megapixel front and rear-facing cameras (720p)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weight: 907g

Not much has changed for the display either, except for better color accuracy. Improvements are more apparent in internal hardware. The upgraded GPU, for instance, promises a 50-percent boost in graphics performance. Processing power is 20 percent faster with the new Haswell CPU, while the improved battery lasts 75 percent longer than the original. When attached to the new Surface Power Cover (which is estimated to cost $200), the tablet can even last for more than 10 hours. The new pair of stereo speakers is now powered by Dolby technology for better audio performance.

Read: Microsoft Surface 2: Tegra 4 CPU, high-def display, Windows RT 8.1

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Power Cover

The most significant change in software is the bundled Windows 8.1. As we’ve previously covered, the update to Microsoft’s latest operating system allows more personalization, better search and app handling, and the return of the Start button in legacy Desktop mode. Unfortunately, the Windows Store still lacks apps that have been found popular and essential in other tablet platforms, though Microsoft is boasting 100,000 available apps in its own ecosystem.

Microsoft is eyeing an October/November launch for its Surface Pro 2 in 22 initial markets all over America, Europe, and Asia. A Philippine release will be announced in the coming months. The most basic Microsoft Surface Pro 2 model costs $899, with local prices expected to be higher due to taxes.

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